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Professor Hassan Ugail: The numbers don’t back the decision to establish an Indian consulate in Addu city.

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Speaking at a panel discussion held tonight by the “SaveAddu” movement, Mathematician Professor Hassan Ugail has stated that The numbers don’t back the decision to establish an Indian consulate in Addu city.  The panel discussion was held in response to the public concern raised following the Indian government’s unilateral decision to establish a consulate in Addu city, Maldives.

Speaking at the virtual panel discussion, Professor Ugail stated that a consulate is normally established if at least 20,000 to 25,000 people of  country visits the host country in a year. He questioned whether 25,000 Indians visit or live in Addu city and stated that he does not see any signs of such a number of Indians visiting Addu city in the near future even. He also stated that those who speak for the establishment of the consulate argue that it would bring economic development. But he pointed out the logical fallacy behind it  that, the economic activity should be brought first, followed by a consulate to aid the people behind the economic activity and not the other way around.

Professor Ugail also stated that the numbers don’t back the decision to establish an Indian consulate in Addu city.

Professor Ugail also talked on the importance of independence and sovereignty stating that there are some things that should not be done for no matter price offered. He related to a personal experience of his when an American firm offered him $5.5 million in exchange for an algorithm developed by him. Professor Hassan Ugail stated that  refused the offer for the chance of misuse of the algorithm by the firm. He stated that similarly, the people of Maldives and Addu city needs to evaluate the consequences of the decisions that we make today for money, which would affect the future generations.

Veteran diplomat Mohamed Nashid also spoke at the panel discussion. He stated that consulates would be established according to the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, under which the Maldivian consulate in Trivandrum was also established. He pointed out that under this convention, any Consulate that is established in Addu would have full diplomatic immunity including the staff and the building which houses the consulate. He stated that of the 79 Articles in the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, most of the articles would be of benefit to the country which establishes the consulate and not the host country.

Mr. Mohamed Nashid who has 18 years of experience in Maldives Foreign Service, pointed out that the current course of action by the Indian Government was against Article 4 of the convention which stated that “A consular post may only be established in the territory of the receiving State only with that State’s consent”.

Mr. Mohamed Nashid raised concern that Maldivians do not have a say in the establishment of a consulate in Addu as the Government of Maldives remains silent. He also stated that if the consulate were to be stationed within the Addu Police Academy currently being constructed by the Indians, then the whole academy and staff could enjoy diplomatic immunity.

He also pointed out that geopolitically, Addu city is in a historically strategic position and that if a consulate were to be established there, then it could act as a listening post similar to those is Seychelles. Mr. Mohamed Nashid also questioned the motives behind the establishment of a consulate as a consulates main scope of work would be to process visa’s and serve its people. But stated that the idea of an Indian consulate in Addu is perplexing as very few Indians live there.

Mr. Mohamed Nashid also stated that the non-alignment policies practiced by the Maldives should b restored and relations should be kept with all nations. He stated that India will always continue to remain a neighbor and that fact cannot be changed, calling to amend the current policies to make room for a more balanced foreign policy.

Retired MNDF Captain Ali Ihusaan also spoke at the panel discussion. Born to Addu city, Captain Ali Ihusaan (Rtd)  stated that 50% of the global maritime trade passes through the Maldivian seas and that control of this trade has been something that even historically vied by world powers. He also pointed out that in the past South Indian Malabar kings had usurped control of the historically northernmost atoll of Minicoy and the strategic 8 degrees channel between. He stressed that even back then, world powers knew on the importance of those channels.

Captain Ali Ihusaan (Rtd) continued to talk on the geopolitically strategic location of the Maldives. He stated that the western states are using India as their proxy within this region against China. He stated that in order to control of these channels, India is establishing their military presence in the Maldives. Captain Ali Ihusaan (Rtd) stated that it is no coincidence that the Indian helicopter and police academy is kept in Addu and the military aircrafts in Hanimaadhoo and Laamu atoll.

Captain Ali Ihusaan (Rtd) questioned India’s motives on protecting the Maldives. He stated that if India was genuine in their intention to provide security for the Maldives, then they would train and provide the equipment to the Maldivians to defend themselves instead of forcing dependence on them, comparing the situation to Madagascar and Seychelles. He also pointed out that similar consulates have been used as a cover for listening posts which would track and gather intelligence on all land, sea and air traffic and economic activities in the region.

He also talked on how Hawaii became the victim of Japanese attacks during world war 2 after US stationed their military vessels. Comparing the situation he stated that when the Maldives gets in the middle of two super powers, Maldives would be left to face the consequences, stating that an incoming missile can’t distinguish a local from a foreigner.

Former Deputy Mayor of Addu city Hassan Shahid who also spoke on the panel stated that his concerns does not stem from him being with or against any parties involved but due to the motives behind the establishment of a consulate in Addu city. He stated that he was one of the people who made the Presidential manifesto for Addu city for the current administration and that there was no talks of an Indian consulate. He raised question on the benefits of a $200 million loan from India, which would be spent on what India dictates. He questioned the government on why the people of Addu are not being consulted or allowed to participate in the decision making process of the development of Addu city.

He also stated that during former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration, over $1 billion worth investments were brought to the Velana International Airport alone and questioned why the current administration is so focused on bringing just a $200 million loan to Addu city.

Social Sector Advocate Mohamed Shihab stated that historically even Addu has been an intellectual hub. He stated that main heritage of the Addu people are their resilience, hard work and their intellect. He raised points on the development of Addu city as an educational hub, questioning the motives behind the decision to establish a consulate in Addu city.

The panel discussion comes following a advocacy by the “SaveAddu” movement which has a strong online presence. The movement voices against the establishment of an Indian consulate at the Indian police academy in Addu city, stating that it would lead to colonization and further Indian military presence in Addu city. The “SaveAddu”movement has been conducting online protests aginst the growing Indian influence in the Maldives under the banner of “Indiaout” and “IndianMilitaryOut”.

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MP Mohamed Saeed criticizes current administration’s silence over Indian influence in the Maldives.

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Opposition Vice-President MP Mohamed Saeed has criticized the current administration in a lengthy Facebook post. In his post, MP Mohamed Saeed’s highlighted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration with profound criticism for its close ties with India.

In his post, the Maavashu Constituency MP stated several points of concern by the public including the alleged handover of that the airports, Northern and Southern Maldives,  Uthuru Thilafalhu project (UTF) over to India. He then stated that the situation is only worsening as we go into the third year of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s. h

He further stated that the concerns by the public should be addressed by the current administration as these issues tie in to the sovereignty and independence of the nation. He questioned why the head of the state is unable to address the public on the issues.

He further raised question whether President Solih is afraid to address the concerns of whether he is staying silent for fear of getting ousted from his office.

He also called out the current ruling coalition leaders who have also remained silent on the growing Indian influence on the Maldives.

MP Mohamed Saeed also reminded that the current ruling coalition leaders called for an Indian military intervention in the Maldives. He continued on to question whether the current administration has allowed India to meddle with the domestic affairs of the Maldives  under the “new normal”, stating that this is something that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih needs to answer for.

MP Mohamed Saeed also revealed in his post that changes were brought to the Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee and the 241 Committee and that he had not seen the UTF agreement, under which the development of a military base near the capital city was handed over to India. He then stated that it is unlikely that any of the opposition MP’s would have seen the original agreement.

MP Mohamed Saeed ended his post stating that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih should be held answerable for the concerns as the nation battles with the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the threats to the sovereignty and independence of the Maldives. He also argued that the silence form the ruling coalition leaders is a sign of their compliance in the mismanagement and growing Indian influence.

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MP Ahmed Shiyam- fortunate to have experienced President Yameen’s developments, now critical in combating COVID-19.

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Opposition Vice-President Ahmed Shiyam has stated that  it is  fortunate to have experienced President Abdulla Yameen’s development projects which are currently playing a  critical role in the fight against COVID-19. This comes following the current administration’s decision to convert the nation’s largest distribution center developed under former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration.

In a tweet by his official twitter account, MP Ahmed Shiyam noted that the largest distribution and warehouse center in Maldives, which was developed  by former President Abdulla Yameen  is now being converted to a COVID-19 hospital.

He continued on to state that “We were very  fortunate to have experienced President Yameen’s tenure of HOPE that we now have  such facilities  at this trying times to help save many lives.”.

The Distribution center constructed under former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration contains 14 units dedicated for wholesale businesses, 13 units for industrial businesses and 20 units for office space. In addition to this, the facility also contains a convenience store and a restaurant.

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Brigadier General Ibrahim M. Didi (Rtd): Handing over ATC to foreign companies a “grave threat to our national security”.

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Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (Rtd) has questioned and criticized the Government over its decision to allow 100% foreign companies to operate airports and air traffic control service in the Maldives.

Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (Rtd) expressed surprise in his tweet stating that allowing foreign companies to operate as air traffic control service providers is a “grave threat to our national security”. He questioned where the National Security Council is and where Defence Minister Mariya Didi was awake.

He also questioned whether the government buried Article 237 of the Constitution of the Maldives which states “The security services shall protect the nation’s sovereignty, maintain its territorial integrity defend the constitution and democratic institutions, maintain and enforce law and order, and render assistance in emergencies.”.

His comments comes while the public is engaged in a massive campaign against the current administration and its close ties with India. Many have accused the current administration of  compromising the sovereignty of the Maldives by allowing Indian military to expand their influence in the Maldives. The Addu city Police academy, Addu city Indian consulate, radar systems and most recently the Hanimaadhoo land grab has fueled public anger at the current administration and India.

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